A Quarantined Mom’s Guide to Tiktok

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A phone with a TikTok logo and ear buds

What is TikTok?

TikTok has been a social media godsend for this mom during quarantine! Whether I want to try a dance challenge (what TikTok is iconic for), watch how to make edible cookie dough, or just laugh, TikTok has what I need.  I have been finding myself gravitating to TikTok instead of Facebook or Instagram for stress relief in the era of social distancing. While I often find myself more stressed or anxious after hopping onto often heated/political Facebook or curated Instagram, I exit from TikTok with a smile on my face.

In their own words, “TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.” Their motto is “Make Your Day. Real People. Real Videos.”

Getting started with TikTok

When you want to be the casual observer of TikToks:

TikTok profile screenshot

  • Just like Pandora, TikTok will better match you with videos you enjoy the more you interact with the app. If you don’t like what you see in your feed initially, make sure to like or comment on videos that are what you want to see on your feed. You can speed up the process even more by indicating you are “Not Interested” by using a long press or holding on videos you don’t like and following hashtags that interest you.
  • Just like Instagram, TikTok works best on your phone, so save yourself the stress and do not try to post videos from a computer.
  • You can save videos to watch later by liking or favoriting them.
  • If you are looking for popular dances, follow @charlidamelio because she posts TikToks of most trending dances and is pretty much the queen of this platform.
  • Something unique about TikTok is that you can search for videos by song (or what they call “Sounds” on the app).

When you are feeling adventurous and are ready to make your own TikTok:

  • There is a 60-second limit to each TikTok. If you include music, the length will be shorter. Many songs are limited to 15 seconds.
  • Be sure to record vertical videos! Horizontal is a YouTube thing.
  • If you want to create a TikTok that is more than one long take, this tutorial will walk you through the basics and show you how to achieve those smooth transitions. You can find other great tutorials with hashtags like #tiktokhelp and #newtotiktok.
  • If you want to make one of those dance videos that TikTok is iconic for, find a video with a dance you want to learn and make sure you favorite it. You can slow most videos down by going into duet mode and record in 2x. Some accounts like @jordannoelleray give really cool tutorials that break the dance down into moves. When you are ready to record your dance to post, press the scrolling/spinning “sound” on the video and press [Use this sound] at the bottom. If you favorited the sound earlier, you can find it in your favorites when you want to use it.

My favorite TikTok accounts

I love to follow @derekhough for laughs, @courteink for relatable mom content, @brittany.xavier for fashion, @nabela for self-love, and @jessicaalba because she’s a goofball and who wouldn’t want to watch THE Jessica Alba’s adorably unashamed and authentic dancing.

I hope that you find some joy during this difficult time. Happy TikTok-ing, my parent friends! You can find my dorky self @mniktok; I’d love to connect with you over there!

Photo credit:: Photography by Raisa

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